Bryson is one of my favourite authors. His latest book – At Home: A Short History of Private Life (2010) – just might be his best, yet.
From one review:
… At Home has a fairly simple structure. Bryson will wander around the Norfolk rectory where he lives and discover how each of the rooms came to have the purpose and contents that it does. He’ll also concentrate largely “on the events of the last 150 years” and be “painfully selective”.
But as it turns out, this manifesto goes by the board even quicker than most. Two chapters later we’ve had spectacular set pieces on the construction of the Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition. We’ve been told how assorted 18th and 19th-century clergymen invented the submarine, bred the first Jack Russell, wrote a history of dirty jokes and published the first scientific work on dinosaurs.
We’ve learnt that almost all of our food is Stone Age in origin and that the end of nomadism “happened all over the Earth, among people who could have no idea that others in distant places were doing precisely the same thing”. (“Dogs, for instance”, runs the typically striking paragraph-punchline, “were domesticated at much the same time in places as far apart as England, Siberia and North America.”)
… read more by James Walton on The Telegraph
Everyone will love this book.